If you've ever wondered how dieting and exercise reduce inflammation, read on. According to new research, a compound that our bodies crank out when energy supplies are low could be the link between diet and exercise, and reduced swelling in the body.
When diet, fasting and exercise starve the body for calories, the body increases production of a compound called beta hydroxybutyrate (BHB). This compound has long been known as an alternate source of energy; the new research suggests that BHB can also block the inflammatory response.
In their study, published this week in Nature Medicine online (subscription required), a team of scientists co-led by Yun-Hee Youm and Kim Yen Nguyen at the Yale School of Medicine, discovered that the compound BHB reduces swelling in the body by inactivating a group of proteins, called the inflammasome, that drive the inflammatory response.
The research team used human immune cells and mice to explore the effects of BHB in the body. They found that mice given BHB directly, and mice fed a low-carbohydrate diet (that prompted their bodies to synthesize their own BHB), both benefited from reduced inflammation.
These results are noteworthy because a better understanding of the mechanism that links diet, exercise and inflammation could help scientists develop more effective treatments for inflammatory disorders such as Type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis and Alzheimer's disease.
Previously: Newly identified type-2 diabetes gene's odds of being a false finding equal one in 1 followed by 19 zeroes, Improving your health using herbs and spices, Exercise may alleviate symptoms of arthritis regardless of weight loss, Study points to inflammation as cause of plaque buildup in heart vessels and Examining the role of exercise in managing and preventing diabetes
Photo by Dave Nakayama